Category Archives: history

Rock the Vote #1stVote16 Tag

Photo: www.democraticunderground.com

Photo: www.democraticunderground.com

My buddy Jeff Garvin tagged me in the #1stVote16 tag to help encourage first time voters to get registered and vote this election and I couldn’t be happier to participate! There is a lot of cynicism wrapped up in this election season but that is no reason not to participate. In fact, if anything, it’s even more of a reason to participate. I started voting back when Rock the Vote first came into being. I still remember watching the commercials on MTV back in the day. It was exciting and it felt like a big deal. It felt empowering. For the first time in my life it felt like the “grown-ups” actually cared about what I thought, and they all desperately wanted my vote for whatever they cared about. Although I may have complaints about how the presidential election process happens, there is SO MUCH MORE to vote on this November! Important, important things! 88% of congress is up for re-election – THAT’S HUGE! California as a state has 17 statewide ballot proposals to vote on, and it’s big stuff like marijuana legalization and the death penalty, not including all the local initiatives – and local initiatives are important, just ask John Oliver.

All of this is to say that you should register, get informed, and vote. It’s important, it counts, and it’s your duty as a citizen. Here’s my video:

Need help getting registered? Here are some links to help you:

Visit http://RockTheVote.com to REGISTER & learn more!

First timer? Rock the Vote has a special site just for you!

And here is a handy YouTube Channel about How to Vote in Every State.

 

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Filed under activism, history, video, YouTube

Video Friday – The History of Piracy

 

piracy

Piracy.

It is the bane of the modern entertainment industry.

It has completely changed the paradigm of the music industry and altered the business of television and film distribution in ways that have yet to be realized.

For many consumers, media piracy is thought of as a new thing. Something that the industry has to cope with in a world full of modern marvels that allow for quick duplication and distribution. But that isn’t actually true. Piracy is something that is as old as the entertainment industry and CineFix has done a great job explaining it in their latest Film School’D video.

Another lesson from this video? Edison really was a prick. An industrious prick, but a prick.

How do you feel about piracy? what do you think the industry can do to combat it? Let me know in the comments.

See you next time.

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March 6, 2015 · 8:00 am

Fun Video Friday – Film School’d

Fun Video Friday Update

Many people who visit this blog have entertainment career ambitions,┬álike being an actor or a filmmaker. While I’m happy to offer advice and tell stories about my misadventures, there’s also a lot of history of┬áthis business that’s worth knowing. For some that means going to film school and getting a classroom education. However, most creatives in the entertainment industry don’t go or never finish college so what do they do?

They turn to the internet.

The YouTube channel Cinefix has a great series called:

Film School’d

It is full of information about the industry and fun to watch. To give you a taste here is one of their first videos:

HOW DID A $25K BET GIVE RISE TO HOLLYWOOD?!

Hope you enjoy it and the other videos they have at the channel.

See you next time.

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Filed under filmmaking, fun video friday, history, video, YouTube

The People vs. George Lucas, Cultural Ownership & Questioning What All This Means As A Content Creator

From disassociated.com

I recently watched the documentary “The People vs. George Lucas” on Netflix. In it the filmmakers explore the rise and fall of the public’s perception of George Lucas especially through the eyes of Star Wars fans and their reaction to the prequels. I could identify with the people shown in the film. For a long time I was a die hard Star Wars fanboy. If you knew me from the years of 1977 until the release of the prequels in 1999 you would have seen my shrine to Yoda, whose teachings were very important to me even though I knew that he was a fictional character spouting phrases that were highly influenced by Eastern philosophy. The original trilogy was memorized and could be quoted on demand. I knew obscure facts that couldn’t even be referenced directly by only watching the movies, it required research into the development of the films and the original drafts of the screen play. I have read the “Journal of the Whills” that is now getting a comic book adaptation – and I did it in 1993 BEFORE THE INTERNET! The expanded universe, novels, toys, video games, toys, the Christmas Special, toys, posters, concept art and toys. I was committed and baptized in the church of Star Wars and, as Rene likes to point out whenever my geek cred is challenged, held court in public on the subject. There wasn’t much wool more dyed in the universe of Star Wars than I and so when the prequels came out it and they ended up being what they were…

The fall was hard and the disappointment was… I can’t even think of a word.

But I was willing to give it another shot. This universe had been a backbone of my childhood fantasy life and I couldn’t give up just because one film was terrible.

Episode 2 came out and, even though Yoda kicked a lot of ass, I was, again, very disappointed. Seriously, is any wonder the Jedi were killed off? They didn’t know their ass from their elbow.

By the time Episode 3 came out I was far from enthusiastic. I really only saw the movie to complete the story. But then Darth Vader screamed, “No” and I was out.

I’m not even going to mention the whole “Han shot first” thing. But he did and my children will not grow up in a world where Greedo shot first. Check out this video where I embarrass myself by mixing up the whole Han/Greedo thing. So embarrassing!

Anyway, I have friends who are still committed. A director friend of mine runs a Star Wars RPG with select members of young Hollywood. Others still collect the merchandise. Most fellow geeks I know own a light saber or two.

I completely gave it up.

I felt betrayed, and so did so many of the people interviewed in the film. The Special Editions are supposed to be the new definitive versions of the original trilogy and, while I actually like many of the adjustments and additions, this is also the same set of movies that have the abysmal Han/Greedo problem and the terrible extra Jabba the Hutt scene. Lets not even mention the fact that two key songs were cut: Yub Nub and the Sy Snoodles song. For me, personally, I could even rationalize all this with my inner raging fanboy if the original version were somehow available somewhere. Somewhere! Here’s hoping that Disney does a little market research and sees that there is a whole lot of niche money in releasing the originals *fingers crossed

These are the ravings of a lost fanboy, but these feelings, and the film, both raise a very valid question: where does private ownership end and communal cultural ownership begin? When do we as the public, who have loved something and made our own contributions to it’s mythos, get to claim a piece of the entertainment we consume? I’m not even talking about a monetary piece – that’s a whole different can of worms – but a little corner of the universe that fans can claim as their own.

It’s not like fans are kept from doing things. Fan films are practically their own genre, some are even famous on their own right (see Troops and Batman: Dead End). Novels are the printed fan-fiction of recognized authors and if you’re a Whovian you have a whole set of radio dramas to help build the list of Doctor Who adventures with a variety of different Doctors to choose from. Will and passion become the fuel that generates whole new chapters to the stories that we love. Whether you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, Potter-maniac, Whovian, Trekkie, Star Wars geek or Bronie, the Internet now connects you to like-minded individuals, many of whom may have a podcast or enough amateur film equipment to create new content.

And that’s when I start to question what that might mean for the future and for the content I like to create. There are movies and narrative film ideas that the team and I have been working on, but I’m only really getting to a point where I’ve stated to develop the ideas for new characters, worlds and stories that I hope to publish and capture on some sort of video media. While it would be hubris to think that anything that I write would become anything as big or as beloved as any of the universes I mentioned above, I have hopes that it might. And you kind of need to think of the “the morning after the night before” to be prepared for the “just in case” scenario.

With crowd sourcing and Internet community becoming not only common but typical and growing and more and more a part of our lives, it’s interesting to think about how that can integrate into content creation. I want fan support (I mean, duh, that’s kind of a given) but I also want participation. Sometimes fan ideas take your ideas in places you can’t imagine on your own and they challenge the preconceptions that you develop for yourself. It’s exciting and it’s scary and its the future.

What do you think? How did you feel about the Special Editions and the prequels? What are you a geek for? Tell me in the comments. Let’s keep this conversation going!

See you next time.

By the way, want to own the movie on DVD? You can find it by clicking on the picture below.

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Filed under business, Disney, doctor who, fanboy, geek, Han shot first, history, Hollywood, random facts, rant, star wars, videos, YouTube

Random Facts(?)


Here is a list of random facts(?) that I got in my email. These are supposed to be the stories behind how the referenced phrases came into being. The reason there is a (?) is because I have not taken the time to verify any of this, but I think the stories are good and, to paraphrase an old John Ford movie, if the legend is good you print the legend. See you tomorrow!

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken & sold to the tannery. If you had to do this to survive you were “Piss Poor,” but worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot. They “didn’t have a pot to piss in” & were the lowest of the low.

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:


Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June. However, since they were starting to smell, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the
babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the Bath water!”


Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying “It’s raining cats and dogs.”


There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.


The floor was dirt… Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “Dirt poor.” The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.


In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire.. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot.. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.


Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, “bring home the bacon.” They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.


Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.


England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus,someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer…

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Filed under general, history, random facts, rumor